Westernaustralia2011.com heads fleet on second leg of Clipper Round the World Race 25/9/07

The Clipper fleet on the second leg of the Clipper 07-08 Round the World race which started from La Rochelle on Sunday, is approaching Cape Finisterre.

Although westernaustralia2011.com currently has as small advantage over Hull and Humber,with nearly 4,000 miles of racing to go there is still all to play for.

The first night of Race 2 in the Bay of Biscay was an initiation of fire for the fleet with Hull & Humber describing it as their “night from hell” and Glasgow: Scotland with style referring to it as their “toughest sailing to date.”

Winds of 30 knots battered the boats and the infamous stretch of water lived up to its fearsome reputation. Having been lulled into a false sense of security with light winds at the start the teams had to jump into action reefing mainsails and changing down their headsails. The strong winds and confused seas took their toll on the crew as many succumbed to sea sickness and it was a long night for all as they struggled with difficult sail changes on the bow.

By midday the following day (yesterday) a small amount of respite came with the wind moving round to the north west and easing slightly to 20 knots providing some fast sailing for the entire fleet.

Bob Stephens, crew member on board Uniquely Singapore said: “The crew is settling into the watch routine, but the big change is the thrill of racing. We are all pleased that these big boats not only handle the seas well, but are fast. We are all looking forward to the left turn at Cape Finisterre to head south down the Portuguese coast.”

Overnight last night the wind eased further and averaged between 7 and 15 knots and continued from the north west providing steady sailing.

With all the teams now up to speed the race is on as to which team reaches the corner of Finisterre first. Nova Scotia is currently the most northerly boat and Glasgow: Scotland with style is keeping close to the Portuguese coastline and it will be interesting to see whose tactics pay off.

The forecast is for strong northerly winds down the north west Spanish and Portuguese coast over the next 24 hours. With winds over 30kts from the north whoever gets there first will find themselves catapulted down the coast at speeds of over 15 knots with some very exciting surfing.